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Jones v. Sachse

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

August 18, 2014

RAFAEL A. JONES, Petitioner,
v.
JENNIFER SACHSE, Respondent.

ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

THOMAS C. MUMMERT, III, Magistrate Judge.

Rafael A. Jones ("Petitioner"), a Missouri prisoner, petitions the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri for federal habeas corpus relief from convictions and a probation revocation following guilty pleas. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Jennifer Sachse ("Respondent") filed a response to Petitioner's habeas petition, including exhibits consisting of materials from Petitioner's underlying cases in the St. Louis County Circuit Court[1] (see Docs. 18, 168, and 169). Also before the Court are various motions filed by Petitioner [Docs. 158, 159, 161, 162, and 171], to which Respondent has not filed a response.

This matter is before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for a review and recommended disposition of Petitioner's federal habeas petition and any dispositive motion; and for resolution of any non-dispositive motions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Rules 8(b) and 10 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. The undersigned recommends the dismissal of the petition without further proceedings upon finding that the Court lacks jurisdiction to consider the challenge to the misdemeanor offense in one underlying state criminal case and that this habeas proceeding was untimely filed with respect to the challenges to the 2007 conviction on the felony offense in the same underlying case; that Petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claims are too generalized to state a federal habeas claim; that the claimed state law violation is not cognizable; that certain challenges to the 2010 probation revocation proceeding and judgments are not exhausted and must be presented in state habeas proceedings; and the remaining challenges to the 2010 proceeding and judgment are not exhausted but further consideration of those claims is procedurally barred. Additionally, the undersigned recommends that all pending motions and requests be denied to the extent they present issues unrelated to this federal habeas proceeding and otherwise be denied as moot.

Background

This federal habeas proceeding arises out of two state criminal proceedings.

In State v. Jones, No. 07SL-CR03429-01[2] (St. Louis Cnty. Cir. Ct. filed July 20, 2007) (referred to as "state case number 3429"), Petitioner was charged with one felony count of domestic assault in the second degree, in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.073, for attempting to cause physical injury to Tasharo Smith ("Victim"), an adult who resided with Petitioner, by choking her on July 19, 2007; and one misdemeanor count of third-degree domestic assault, in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.074, for knowingly causing Victim's isolation through unreasonable and substantial restriction on her access to other individuals and telecommunication devices on the same date. (See, e.g., Information, filed Aug. 14, 2007 [Doc. 169-2 at 67-68].)

On November 2, 2007, in the presence of his attorney, Petitioner pleaded guilty to both counts in state case number 3429. (See Nov. 2, 2007 Plea and Sentencing Tr. at 1-18 [Doc. 169-2 at 36-54].) Before accepting Petitioner's guilty plea, the plea court advised Petitioner that the felony count carried "a range of punishment from one day to seven years incarceration... and a $5, 000 fine[; that the misdemeanor count] can add one year incarceration and a thousand dollar fine"; and that, if he went to trial, there was a potential, based on two prior criminal cases against Petitioner, that Petitioner would be found to be a prior and persistent offender, which status would enhance the potential period of incarceration on the felony offense from seven years to fifteen years. ( Id. at 6, 7-8, and 11 [Doc. 169-2 at 41, 42-43, and 46].) The parties advised the plea court that they had reached a plea agreement in which the State recommended that Petitioner receive, on the felony offense, a seven-year term of imprisonment with execution of that sentence suspended and a five-year term of probation imposed, and that Petitioner receive, on the misdemeanor offense, a term of "105 days in the department of justice services with credit for time served, " resulting in the period of incarceration on the misdemeanor offense being "satisfied." ( Id. at 2-3 [Doc. 169-2 at 37-38].) The State further recommended that the conditions of probation for the felony offense include a provision that Petitioner serve a 105-day period of "shock incarceration in the department of justice services, concurrent with [the sentence imposed on the misdemeanor count], [that Petitioner receive] credit for time served, and [that Petitioner] be discharged as to that condition." ( Id. at 3 [Doc. 169-2 at 38].) Additionally, the State recommended that Petitioner be required "to successfully complete the Raven program... [and] the React program, " "to have absolutely no contact with [Victim] under any circumstances, " and to "undergo a psychiatric evaluation and follow any recommended treatment." (Id.)

The State reported that its
evidence would show that [Victim] and [Petitioner] had been living together at her residence... for the previous two months prior to this [incident on July 19, 2007].
On that date at approximately 9:00 p.m., [Victim] and [Petitioner] were at her residence when [Petitioner] accused her of seeing another man. [Victim] was sitting on the floor and listening to some music when [Petitioner] put his hands around her neck and began to choke her. She managed to get up and was forced face down onto a bed. [Petitioner] then climbed onto her back and began to choke her from behind until she couldn't breathe.
From that point, [Victim] was forced to stay in the apartment and not allowed to leave or use the phone. During this time, [Petitioner] threatened to kill her. The next morning when [Victim] saw [Petitioner] had fallen asleep, [Victim] got her child and immediately went to the nearest St. Louis County police station. [Petitioner] was subsequently found by police in the apartment, still asleep, and was taken into custody at that time.

(Id. at 13-14 [Doc. 169-2 at 47-48].) Petitioner acknowledged that these facts were "substantially correct, " and asked the court to accept his plea because he was "in fact, guilty as charged." ( Id. at 15 [Doc. 169-2 at 51].)

After accepting Petitioner's guilty plea, the plea court sentenced Petitioner on the same day. ( Id. at 15-17 [Doc. 169-2 at 51-53].) On the felony offense, the plea court sentenced Petitioner to a seven-year term of imprisonment, with execution of that sentence suspended and a five-year probationary period imposed. ( Id. at 15-16 [Doc. 169-2 at 51-52]; Sentence and J., filed Nov. 2, 2007, at 2 [Doc. 169-2 at 63].) The plea court expressly provided that the "normal conditions of probation [were] to include 105 days of shock incarceration, [and Petitioner was] discharged as to that condition; Raven;... no contact with [Victim] under any circumstances;... psych evaluation and treatment as needed[; and] completion of the Reach program." (Nov. 2, 2007 Plea and Sentencing Tr. at 16 [Doc. 169-2 at 52]; see also Sentence and J., filed Nov. 2, 2007, at 2 [Doc. 169-2 at 63].) As to the misdemeanor offense, the plea court sentenced Petitioner to a term of 105 days in the county jail and discharged Petitioner as to that sentence due to credit for time served. (Nov. 2, 2007 Plea and Sentencing Tr. at 16 [Doc. 169-2 at 52]; Sentence and J. in state case number 3429, filed Nov. 2, 2007, at 2 [Doc. 169-2 at 63].) These sentences ran concurrently. (See, e.g., Sentence and J. in state case number 3429, filed Nov. 2, 2007, at 2 [Doc. 169-2 at 63].) As the sentencing court advised Petitioner at that time, he was then "only under probation" on the felony offense in state case number 3429. (See Nov. 2, 2007 Plea and Sentencing Tr. at 16 [Doc. 169-2 at 52].)

In January 10, 2008, Petitioner was charged in State v. Jones, No. 07SL-CR06638-01 (St. Louis Cnty. Cir. Ct. filed Nov. 26, 2007) (referred to as "state case number 6638"), [3] with two counts of felony non-support, in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 568.040, for knowingly failing, without good cause, to provide support for RAJ, Petitioner's child for whom Petitioner "was legally obligated to provide... support, " in each of six months during the period September 1, 2005 and August 31, 2006 (Count I) and during the period September 1, 2006 to October 31, 2007 (Count II). (Information, filed Jan. 10, 2008 [Doc. 169-1 at 25].)

On August 1, 2008, in the presence of his attorney, Petitioner pleaded guilty to both counts in state case number 6638. (See Aug. 1, 2008 Plea and Sentencing Tr. at 1-14 [Doc. 169-2 at 21-35].) Before accepting the plea, the plea court advised Petitioner that the range of punishment for each of these criminal non-support offenses was "from one day to four years incarceration and up to a $5, 000 fine." ( Id. at 8 [Doc. 169-2 at 28].) The parties advised the plea court that they had reached a plea agreement in which the State recommended that the court

suspend the imposition of sentence, and place [Petitioner] on probation for a period of five years to the state board of probation and parole... [t]hat would be subject to all of the usual terms and conditions [as well as] the special conditions that starting September 1st, [Petitioner] pay child support of $350 per month, [consisting of] $187 for current support and $163 for the arrears.

(Id. at 2-3 [Doc. 169-2 at 22-23].)

The State advised the court that its evidence would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, during the dates alleged, Petitioner knowingly failed, without good cause, to provide adequate support for RAF, Petitioner's "child for whom he was legally obligated to provide such support" for at least six months for each offense. ( Id. at 10-11 [Doc. 169-2 at 30-31].) The State further reported that Petitioner's "legal obligation [for child support] arose from a St. Louis County Circuit Court order that was entered May 2, 2002, [in] case number 02FC4589 that ordered support in the amount of $105 per month, and... was modified [on] October 7th, 2005 to $187 per month for that child support." ( Id. at 11 [Doc. 169-2 at 31].) Petitioner acknowledged that these facts were "substantially correct, " and asked the court to accept his plea because he was "in fact, guilty as charged." ( Id. at 11-12 [Doc. 169-2 at 31-32].)

After accepting Petitioner's guilty plea, the plea court sentenced Petitioner on the same day. ( Id. at 12-13 [Doc. 169-2 at 32-33].) In relevant part, the plea court suspended imposition of sentence for a five-year probationary period on each of the two counts, with those sentences running concurrently. ( Id. at 12-13 [Doc. 169-2 at 32-33]; Sentence and J. in state case number 6638, filed Aug. 1, 2008, at 2 [Doc. 169-1 at 22-23].) The conditions of probation in state case number 6638 included both a requirement that Petitioner obey all laws and ordinances (referred to as probation condition number 1, the Laws provision) and a requirement that Petitioner abide by any directives given by his probation officer (referred to as probation condition number 8, the Directives provision). (See Order of Probation in state case number 6638 [Doc. 169-1 at 19].)

On that same day, August 1, 2008, the state court entered a probation revocation judgment in Petitioner's earlier criminal case, state case number 3429, which "continued" probation in that case until November 1, 2012. (See Probation Revocation H'rg and J. in state case number 3429, filed Aug. 1, 2008 [Doc. 169-2 at 60].) In relevant part, the conditions of that probation included both a requirement that Petitioner obey all laws and ordinances (referred to as probation condition number 1, the Laws provision) and a requirement that Petitioner abide by any directives given by his probation officer (referred to as probation condition number 8, the Directives provision). (See Order of Probation in state case number 3429 [Doc. 169-2 at 59].)

Petitioner was subsequently charged with violating the Laws provision and the Directives provision of his probation conditions in state case numbers 3429 and 6638. (See Notices of Hr'g on Revocation of Probation, filed July 28, 2009 and March 15, 2010, in case numbers 3429 and 6638 [Doc. 169-2 at 71-72 and 69-70, respectively, for state case number 3429, and Doc. 169-1 at 16-17 and 14-15, respectively, for state case number 6638].) By orders, dated July 28, 2009, Petitioner's probation was modified and suspended in both state case number 3429 and state case number 6638 due to Petitioner's probation violation. (See Orders, filed July 28, 2009, in state case numbers 3429 and 6638 [Docs. 169-2 at 61 and 169-1 at 18, respectively].)

The state court subsequently conducted one hearing, on July 29, 2010, for Petitioner's guilty plea and sentencing for the probation violations in state case numbers 3429 and 6638. (See, e.g., July 29, 2010 Plea & Sentencing Tr., filed Nov. 1, 2010, in state case numbers 3429 and 6638 [Doc. 169-2 at 9-20].) Before accepting Petitioner's guilty plea, the plea court and counsel, on the record in Petitioner's presence, discussed the State's recommendation that on the felony domestic assault offense in state case number 3429, Petitioner's seven-year sentence be executed with credit for the nineteen months Petitioner spent on probation and for any jail time; and that on the two felony non-support offenses in state case number 6638, a three-year sentence be imposed for each offense, with credit for the sixty days Petitioner spent on probation and for any jail time; and that all sentences run concurrently. ( Id. at 2-5 ...


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